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Author Topic: letters from well-known lawyers?  (Read 1435 times)

lemonchar

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letters from well-known lawyers?
« on: May 30, 2008, 10:35:25 PM »
I graduated last year and work as a paralegal at a prestigious law firm (small, locally known, lots of media attention to cases i work on). My undergrad GPA, cumulative, was 2.8 (in both my majors it was well over 3.0 but i slacked off in some requirements)--so I'm not sure I could get great academic recommendations.

Everyone I work with, lawyers and other paralegals, has been supportive of my plans to go to law school in 2009 and encourages me when it comes up in conversation.

But 1) can i get more than one letter from this firm? and 2) should i ask for a letter from the very influential senior/founding partner, or from another partner, or from an associate, or from the brand-new associate for whom i am the sole paralegal? It's a small office and we all work together closely; I just don't know who would be able to help me out the most in terms of letter-writing for an already iffy application.

Thanks!

dsetterl

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Re: letters from well-known lawyers?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 10:57:25 PM »
I think you should really try to find a rec from an academic. You are only one year out of school, and I think adcoms would be suspicious. Anyways I would ask for one targeted letter (J.D. from school you wish to attend) and one general rec. I would ask  an attorney that you worked with on a specific case so they could point to your great potential in the legal field. I still think that you really really really need more academic references.

dsetterl

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Re: letters from well-known lawyers?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 11:03:24 PM »
To answer your question tho- Only use one. I would not send two letters from a business to a school. You may have been able to get away with this if you graduated like 10 years ago, but I think it is way too soon.  Also a local firm's rep may mean nothing 2 states away.

TheMainEvent

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Re: letters from well-known lawyers?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2008, 11:27:51 AM »
I graduated last year and work as a paralegal at a prestigious law firm (small, locally known, lots of media attention to cases i work on). My undergrad GPA, cumulative, was 2.8 (in both my majors it was well over 3.0 but i slacked off in some requirements)--so I'm not sure I could get great academic recommendations.

Everyone I work with, lawyers and other paralegals, has been supportive of my plans to go to law school in 2009 and encourages me when it comes up in conversation.

But 1) can i get more than one letter from this firm? and 2) should i ask for a letter from the very influential senior/founding partner, or from another partner, or from an associate, or from the brand-new associate for whom i am the sole paralegal? It's a small office and we all work together closely; I just don't know who would be able to help me out the most in terms of letter-writing for an already iffy application.

Thanks!

Apparently you're slow. "Influential" seems to have no weight in the application process. Which of these individuals KNOWS you and your work the best; that's what matters. George W. Bush could write you a vanilla recommendation saying, "This person with down syndrome is AWESOME," and the AdCom would rip it up laughing. Consider someone who can speak to your abilities that would be relevant: reading, analyzing, etc. What about dicipline? Put together a package instead of going up to a Small-Mid firm partner and asking for a recommendation that you know will be awful because of time constraints and the fact they don't know you.

This process isn't hard, think of it like a political campaign. Sorry to hear you have down syndrome.
The notions of trying frivolous civil suits and intense criminal cases are the reasons I pursue the practice of law.

Ego, Sound Advice, and Put-Downs for all!

snarkygirl

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Re: letters from well-known lawyers?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2008, 11:56:58 AM »
if any of these attorneys have first-hand experience working with you and can speak to your personal qualities in a valuable way, ask one of them.  just one.  and find a prof.  since you have only been out of school one year, that is very important.

Changed Name

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Re: letters from well-known lawyers?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2008, 01:48:11 PM »
Additionally, just because your GPA was on the low-side doesn't mean that you can't get good letters of recommendation.  I'm sure you did well in some classes during your undergrad.

Even if you don't know the professor well, email him/contact him.  Tell him that you plan on applying to law school; tell him that you enjoyed his class and that you would like a letter of recommendation.  Tell him that you'd be willing to send him essays that you had written, etc. 

You'd be surprised at how helpful professors can/will be.  They understand the process.  They get asked for letters all the time. 

Will your letter be an amazing description of you as a student?  Probably not.  But, I'm of the opinion that these letters don't make you.  They can break you if your recommender blindsides you with a bad recommendation (but I doubt that will happen).  Letters are pretty much standard across the board, and you should be aiming to just get them in, have them say something decent about you, and then focus on the more important part of your application.

Good luck.